If you’re here, then you’re interested in a more detailed account of my weight loss and “struggles” than the generic “I lost thirty pounds, got healthy and now feel great!” Which is true, but over-simplifies it just a tad ;)

100_6783 I’ve never been an active person. As a child, I did some dancing and skating, but I was more of a sit-and-read type kid. I’ve never played on a sports team or competed in anything athletically.

I hit a real rough patch in middle school that only seemed to snowball. My parents divorced, and my family was hit with some really tough issues. I was exposed to a few things that no 12-year-old should ever have to go through. So I acted out as a way to deal. I started smoking cigarettes and drinking. My new actions lead me to new groups of friends. I was eventually exposed to drugs, and began a struggle that stretched well into my high school years.

0173Looking back, I can see I was treating my body in the worst possible way. I cringe now to think of the awful things I ingested and the horrible things I put myself through. Even more, the contempt I held towards myself. I went to a deep and dark place, and for a brief moment, myself and my family had genuine concern I wasn’t going to come out.

Dropping out of school in grade 10 was the breaking point for me. I was eventually diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, or agoraphobia, and put on medication. The anxiety diagnosis was a new beginning for me, everything started to make sense. I learned why I panicked in crowds and strange environments. I learned coping mechanisms and was able to slowly learn to deal with my fear without the help of drugs or alcohol. I started at a new school and pieces of my life started to come back together.

After high school, I moved to a new city to be with my boyfriend at the time. While that relationship didn’t work out, it did get me to university, where I studied journalism and communications. It was there that I shaped my passion for writing and storytelling. My healing process continued through my university years. I was thrown into new environments and challenged on a daily basis. I found a new sense of confidence, despite the constant anxiety running through my veins.

While I was healing mentally in university, it was doing nothing for me physically (as the story usually goes…). Beer and nachos became my go-to meal, and it eventually started to show. I reached my heaviest weight after returning from a trip to Jamaica. I ate and drank the whole time I was there, and continued the vacation once I got home. My wake-up call came from a Wii Fit. I hadn’t weighed myself in months out of fear, but I couldn’t hide from the number it spit back at me. It was that very moment that I made the final change I needed.

beforeI started counting calories online (something I no longer need to do) and committed to doing some form of activity everyday. I was shocked by how many extra calories I was consuming. Who knew a giant bowl of granola could be so unhealthy?

I was a classic case of just eating too much and moving too little. Once I balanced that out, the weight almost melted off. What I couldn’t have predicted, was that after years of inactivity, I fell in love with exercising. It challenged me in ways I wasn’t used to. I started setting fitness goals and accomplishing them – running 5k, swimming 1k, squatting with an olympic bar, doing a TRIATHLON. Yes, the the girl who used to puff back boxes of cigarettes did a flipping triathlon. after shot

Now I love my healthy food, my daily exercises and my new positive outlook on life.   Looking back, I can’t believe the person I used to be, or the person I now am. It really has been a long, laborious struggle. But it was worth every up and down. Every mistake and every goal achieved. That’s what I mean when I say it’s not just my pants size that has changed. I turned my life, my health, my well-being on its head. Now, there is no going back.

So I guess this is where the blog comes in and this story picks up. I’m happy you’re here to join me on the rest of this journey. Because who knows where we can go from here!

As always, I love hearing from the people reading my words. Comment away or e-mail me at thegreatbalancingact@gmail.com

  1. Thanks for sharing the details. That is a huge difference between those 2 pictures! I really like that pic of you in the pink dress, too.

  2. Thanks for sharing your story! You are truly a strong and inspiring woman!

  3. Susan, I really appreciate how honest you are about your past. We all have choices and times that we aren’t proud of. Obviously you have learned a lot from your journey and others will too :)

  4. susan you know i have mad love for ya! and this post/page just reconfirms that love. you are such a hard worker, both at your job but also at eating right and exercising! you are such a person for me to look up to and model my own behavior after. i appreciate your great example and your wise words and also your honesty and willingness to share your story with us :) xoxoxoxo!

  5. Susan, that is a very inspirational story. I am glad you were able to come out the other side of your dark tunnel. Thank-you for sharing.

  6. You are so brave for being so honest about your life, Susan! You should be so proud of how far you have come and what a rolemodel you now are. I admire you for your honesty and for your constant desire to better yourself!

  7. (((HUG))) Thanks for sharing! I never realized how far you have come!


  8. Thank you so much for sharing this with everyone! Your story is truly remarkable, as you have undergone a transformation! I’m inspired by you Susan!! :)

  9. Oh wow! Thank you so much for sharing this with us! You have gone through QUITE the change :)

  10. im glad you decided to share more of your story! now i feel like i really know know you :) it sounds like you have come such a long way from your middle school/high school years and should be really proud not just of your weight loss but so much more than that. turning your life from one point to a completely different one is something that most people cant or wont try to accomplish but you did!!!

  11. This was really interesting to read. Thanks for sharing your story. It’s amazing sometimes to look back on our old lifetyles and think, was that really me? But it sure looks like you’ve come out ahead. Congrats :-)

  12. Thanks for sharing your story with us :)! and Congrats on a great job :)

  13. I just read this page.

    I do not know what to type. Just to commend you and say you have done so very well.

    Blessings to you always.


  14. Wonderful story- I’m so happy that you’ve caught the “fitness bug” and that you are healthy and happy. Especially when things were pretty rough for a while there. Thank you for sharing the details with us.


  15. you’re beautiful! :)

  16. Hi Susan – Thank you so much for your very honest story. I think it’s so helpful for everyone to know there is a way out. I’m so glad you’ve found a place of honoring yourself. I can really relate. At my fittest, I was still doing horrible things to myself, but I will be fit again and never treat myself badly. That notion came with age and being loved.

    Congratulations on your success!

  17. What a story! I am glad to read that it all has begun to come together for you. So many people with similar beginnings never pull away.

  18. I love reading about people’s healthy living stories :-)

    Also, GREAT pink dress, I have the same one in turquoise!

  19. Thank you for sharing your amazing story! You look wonderful!
    Healthy Eating,

  20. Wow that is really amazing, you should feel really proud! You look gorgeous and happy

  21. Great story and blog!

  22. I just found you through Lara. To the google reader you go :)

  23. You have a very inspiring story. thank you for sharing it.

  24. I have been a reader of your blog for a while. I know you began your fitness journey with training for the tri. But, do you have any suggestions for training for a half marathon? My mileage is pretty low so I’m not sure if I can pull off 13.1 in 12 weeks…

    • Hey Jenna! That’s so exciting you want to do a half marathon! I’m a BIG fan of Hal Higdon for training programs: http://www.halhigdon.com/halfmarathon/index.htm Even if you don’t follow it exactly, it’s a good program to base your own off of.

      Since it’s such a short period of time, you’re at risk for getting an overuse injury by increasing your mileage so quickly. I recommend tracking your weekly mileage to make sure it’s not increasing by 10% each week, try not to run two days in a row, and run only 3-4 times a week if you can. Also, make sure you’ve got good sneakers, they really can make or break you. Good luck! :D

  25. This is so inspiring! I’m back on the health bangwagon and am so glad I found your site. Looking forward to reading and seeing your progress.

  26. I loved that you sectioned off your about me into two parts! Truly inspiring. I am excited to continue reading your blog in the future :)

  27. Great story! That’s awesome that you did a triathlon. I really am hoping to do one sometime soon. For right now I’m working on a 1/2 marathon. Keep up the good work!


  28. New reader here! I really connected to your story. I grew up very inactive and overweight as my favorite hobbies were reading and watching movies. I have been dealing with depression and anxiety my entire life and when I hit 12 I turned to the same destructive things you did. I look back and am surprised I am still alive. After high school I started to work out and eat healthy but my mind was not in the right place and I developed an ED. That was over two years ago and while I can say I am fully recovered from that aspect I still struggle with anxiety (big time!) and depression. It’s nice to finally read a blog where I feel as though the writer has been through some of the similar things I have in my life. Thank you for posting your story!

  29. I love the quote “there is no going back.” That’s how I feel. I never took care of myself and weighed 250 pounds as a result. I will NEVER be that way again.

  30. Hey Susan! Not sure why I missed this page but I am glad I found it. I love it. What a great story!!! So refreshing to read an honest raw about me post.

  31. Thanks for sharing your story! Glad to hear you are living such a healthy lifestyle!

  32. Hey Susan, its your cousin Zack. Amanda told me about your site and I am totally impressed with your progress and how good things seem to be going for you. Glad to see you happy. Keep in touch.

    • Thank you Zach!! And congrats to you on starting up your own business!! I’ll keep you in mind for when I take this little blog to the big time ;)

  33. Wow, I really relate to your story. Especially the rough childhood/teen years, going through things at such a young age that even most adults never experience, and turning to unhealthy measures to ease the pain. I suffered from anxiety as well, and social phobia (and agoraphobia, but not until a little later in life). I also had deep depression and a severe eating disorder. I’m in my 20s now and although things have changed and I’ve learned a lot, I still struggle. I eliminated the mind numbing coping mechanisms that I abused in my teen years like excessive drinking and smoking (I quit both of those entirely). It’s just the depression and anxiety that really get to me…and I still have a lot of issues with eating. Anyway, thank you for sharing your story. It is inspiring to see that you really fought through the hard times and came out on top. I look forward to reading more.

  34. So glad to come across your blog! I am in the process of losing 100lbs, and finding that it’s not just a food problem — it’s a mental health issue as well. I look forward to reading yours!

  35. Such an inspiring story!! I can’t wait to follow you more and see where all you go :)

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